“It’s not the same celebrations anymore, being far away from my friends and family. My husband is in Iraq, my brother in Turkey, and my sister in Finland. I have three children here with me, but they will never know how joyful a night during Ramadan could be back in Baghdad,” says Safa’, who fled from Iraq in 2013, as her uncle was murdered.
The month in which the first verses of the Quran were first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, more than 1400 years ago, is called Ramadan. During that month, Muslims abstain from drinking, eating, smoking and engaging in sexual activities from dawn to sunset.
Fasting is intended to bring faithful individuals closer to God, but also to share the suffering of the less fortunate. It is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the declaration of faith, charity, the daily prayer, and performing a pilgrimage to Mecca if one has the means to do so.
Pre-fast meals early in the morning are known as Suhoor, while the post-fast feasts of the evening are called Iftar. These meals tend to be vast feasts with all families and friends brought together, from grandparents, to uncles, aunts, cousins, to close friends and so on.
For refugees like Safa’ living here in Amman, however, these celebrations will be less festive than in the past, because they are so far from their friends and family.
Also from Iraq, Maher’s situation is pretty similar. He says, “I know no one here. I’m here with my wife and daughter only. In Baghdad, we used to make big banquets with a part of our neighborhood, we don’t experience that anymore”.
While less people tend to participate, the activities scheduled during the day at our Family-Resource and Community Center still take place. This allows refugees like Safa’ and Maher, who have no legal right to work in Jordan, to keep busy and active during the day, combatting the monotony experienced. More importantly, it helps to fill the emptiness and vacuum left, and felt, by refugees during Ramadan and other celebrations.
“I go to English class, and also learn how to write the different fonts in Arabic [in calligraphy class]. I’m happy to be able to do so during the day, it helps me to focus on other things than fasting, and allows me to actually do something,” Safa’ says.
CRP plans to give out extra food vouchers and hold a few nonsectarian Iftars to bring our community together during this time.
If you are celebrating Ramadan and would like to make a donation, or you would like to help others celebrate Ramadan, you can do so here.